Vice President, Progress 2050
Expertise: Ethnic media, immigration, Hispanic/Latino issues
Vanessa Cárdenas is the Vice President of Progress 2050, a project of American Progress which seeks to build a progressive agenda that is more inclusive of the rich racial and ethnic makeup of our nation. Prior to this position, Vanessa served as the Center’s Director for Ethnic Media, where she helped elevate the organization’s profile among ethnic media outlets.
Vanessa came to American Progress from the National Immigration Forum, where she worked as a policy/communications associate and outreach coordinator and helped bridge the policy, communications, and grassroots advocacy world to disseminate the Forum’s message and work. At the Forum, she participated in numerous local and national organizing and legislative campaigns including the efforts to pass immigration reform in 2006 and 2007, organizing in support of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, and the campaign to defeat Proposition 200 in Arizona.
Prior to the Forum, she managed and administered public education and outreach programs serving diverse communities on a range of issues such as education, civic participation, public safety, and youth leadership for the Arlington Public Schools and the Arlington County Fire Department.
Vanessa was profiled as one of the “100 People to Watch in the Next Century” by Washingtonian magazine and is a regular guest on CNN en Español, Telemundo, Univision, and BBC, among others and has been widely quoted in various print publications such as the U.S. News and World Report, The Washington Post, and La Opinion. She holds a B.A. in government and politics and a master’s in public administration, both from George Mason University. She is a 2010 fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute and an alum of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia and Leadership Arlington. She was born in Brooklyn, NY, grew up in Bolivia, and currently lives in Fairfax, VA.